The Client Challenge
Two prized regional health systems wanted to partner to tackle major health issues in their home state—and ward off out-of-state competitors eager to snap them up. But influential state lawmakers were skeptical of this merger of equals. Meanwhile, staffs and physicians were already grappling with change fatigue since both systems had launched separate major initiatives independent of the merger.
BARRIERS TO A SUCCESSFUL MERGER
- Anti-trust activism
- Questions about profit over mission
- Accusations of growth for financial gain
- Concerns about local control
Navigating to Next: The Solution
Cognizant that both systems were partnering from positions of strength, the Jarrard strategic communications team worked closely with leaders to create a broad understanding of “the why” behind the merger. It was imperative to demonstrate clearly that the organizations weren’t growing just to grow but had made a strategic decision to improve access, service, and long-term stability. Together, they could ward off encroachment from larger systems in neighboring states and focus efforts on a state-based solution to healthcare. Conjoined, the erstwhile rivals would enjoy blended leadership with existing CEOs sharing at the helm.
The Jarrard team worked simultaneously on the merger and integration, convening legal and government relations, leadership from both systems, and transaction advisers. Once crafted, the team delivered a cohesive story in a deliberate, highly cadenced drumbeat that engaged internal audiences, regional media, and state and federal regulators. The plan called for intentionally overcommunicating—and even formation of a dedicated website to help explain the partnership. Jarrard supported respective internal teams, aligned leadership, and worked together to navigate the political dynamics.